Fela

$45.00 $90.00
By Markian

Bold, contemporary and surprising: exactly what you can expect from Markian.

Striking in form and colour, Fela was born to stand out. Available in our Naranja colourway, Fela can function both as a vessel to display your floral artistry, and as a sculpture on its own. 

 

Materials & Care

Wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Dimensions

135mm (dia) x 300mm

Namesake

“Everything I did wrongly was for experience. That’s how I see it.  Once a man is looking for a better knowledge and he tries to be honest and truthful in all endeavours, then his life is just an experience. It cannot be a regret.” - Fela Kuti

Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti; 15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), also known as Abami Eda, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist. He is regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat, an African music genre that combines traditional Yoruba percussion and vocal styles with American funk and jazz. At the height of his popularity, he was referred to as one of Africa's most "challenging and charismatic music performers".

Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti was born into the Ransome-Kuti family, an upper-middle-class Nigerian family, on 15 October 1938 in Abeokuta which at the time was a city in the British Colony of Nigeria. His mother, Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, was an anti-colonial feminist, and his father, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, was an Anglican minister, school principal, and the first president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers. His brothers Beko Ransome-Kuti and Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, bothmedical doctors, were well known nationally. Kuti was a first cousin once removed to the writer and Nobel laureateWole Soyinka, the first black African to win theNobel Prize for Literature, as they are both descendants of Josiah Ransome-Kuti, who is Kuti's paternal grandfather and Soyinka's maternal great-grandfather.

Kuti attended Abeokuta Grammar School. In 1958, he was sent to London to study medicine but decided to study music instead at the Trinity College of Music, with the trumpet being his preferred instrument. While there, he formed the band Koola Lobitos and played a fusion of jazz and highlife.

In 1967, Kuti travelled to Ghana looking for a new musical direction. He called his style Afrobeat, a combination of highlife, funk, jazz, salsa, calypso, and traditional Yoruba music. In 1969, Kuti took the band to the United States and spent ten months in Los Angeles. While there, he discovered the Black Power movement through Sandra Smith (now known as Sandra Izsadore or Sandra Akanke Isidore), a partisan of the Black Panther Party. This experience heavily influenced his music and political views.

After Kuti and his band returned to Nigeria, the group was renamed (the) Africa '70 as lyrical themes changed from love to social issues. He formed the Kalakuta Republic—a commune, recording studio, and home for many people connected to the band—which he later declared independent from the Nigerian state. The commune was destroyed in a 1978 raid.

He was jailed by the government of Muhammadu Buhari in 1984, but released after 20 months. He continued to record and perform through the 1980s and 1990s.

On 3 August 1997, Kuti's brother Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, already a prominent AIDS activist and former Minister of Health, announced that Kuti had died on the previous day from complications related to AIDS.

Kuti is remembered as an influential icon who voiced his opinions on matters that affected the nation through his music. Since 1998, the Felabration festival, an idea pioneered by his daughter Yeni Kuti, is held each year at at the New Afrika Shrine to celebrate the life of this music legend and his birthday. Since Kuti's death in 1997, there has been a revival of his influence in music and popular culture, culminating in another re-release of his catalog controlled by UMG, Broadwayand off-Broadway biographically based shows, and new bands, such as Antibalas, who carry the Afrobeat banner to a new generation of listeners.